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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Surprised by Tangled

I had low expectations for Tangled. The trailer made it look like a computer animated B-movie. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was fun and charming with well defined characters that you either love or hate. The story was far more intricate than I expected with lots of action, touching moments and laughs a-plenty. In fact, I will go as far as to say, it's the best thing Disney has put out since Lion King, of course taking all Pixar movies out of the equation (Disney just owns Pixar. They are really two separate production houses, although the head of Pixar, John Lasseter, is now overseeing Disney movies too and it shows.) I believe, with Tangled, Disney is back on their A-game. We even have our first CGI princess. Rapunzel is everything and more that a Princess should be; beautiful, sweet, naive and longing for the life she never had.
One of the many things I liked about Tangled was the relationship between Rapunzel and the leading male, Flynn Rider. Their friendship/romance was more developed than in previous princess movies. Normally, the handsome prince, or love interest character is one-dimensional and exists only as an object for the princess to desire. He becomes a motivation factor to get her to break out of her safe and lackluster existence. The difference in Tangled is that we learn as much about Rider as we do about Rapunzel. He also has a back story, and goals, and weaknesses just like Rapunzel. It makes for an interesting push and pull between the two leads that isn't usually seen in a Disney movie.
Everything else about Tangled was perhaps what you would expect from a Disney movie, but all done with perfection. The villain was just evil enough to make the plot believable but she was never over-the-top like so many kids movie villains today. There were great songs, but not too many. And, one scene involving floating luminaries that was touching and beautiful.
I watched it with my wife and my younger kids. All 4 of us commented afterwards on how good the movie was. I always count it as a plus when a movie is good enough for all ages to enjoy. I'll rate it 235 for entertainment value and 240 for moral character. The total Watcher500 score is 475 (out of a possible 500 points).

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